Mummifying the chest


The organs in the body were preserved in varying ways as the mummification process evolved. Depending on the period, and the wealth of the dead person, various methods could be used.

Perhaps the most well known method was the use of Canopic Jars. These were used to hold the lungs, liver, stomach and intestines. Initially these jars usually had lids which were either representations of the dead person, or of the Four sons of Horus.

The Heart was where the Egyptians thought the 'soul' of the person lived, so it was important that at the last judgement the heart did not speak out against the dead person, as that would stop them getting eternal life. To prevent this Scarabs were included in the mummy wrappings over the heart.

In high status burials, such as Pharaohs, the provision for the protection of the internal organs was more more sophisticated. This Canopic Coffin is one of a set found in the tomb of Tutankhamun. The embalmed organs were placed inside the coffins which were then put into an alabaster canopic chest with the four stoppers carved with the Pharaohs likeness.

In later periods the processes used seem to have decreased in complexity. In the later dynasties a liquid similar to Turpentine was injected up the anus of the deceased. This liquid dissolved the soft internal organs and was then drained.

In cases where the Internal organs were not left in place, or returned after treatment, the body cavity was packed with a filler. This could have been resin soaked linen, straw, mud, or virtually anything else.